Sunday, July 23, 2006


My sister-in-law's mother passed away last week. She, my brother, and their kids were in Arizona, where her family lives. My sister-in-law sent me (as well as all my other family members) an email the day her mother died. I intended to respond to it, but didn't get around to it and then forgot about it because I've been so wrapped up in my own life. Obviously, I didn't forget about my sister-in-law and her travails, but I didn't take the time to send my condolences, and when my sister-in-law returned home, she was understandably hurt that I hadn't taken five minutes out of my day to acknowledge her loss. Everything's fine and forgiven now (my sister-in-law is certainly not one to hold grudges), but it did get me to thinking how self-centered I can be at times.

My view on death is that's it's just a temporary separation, and there's nothing I can really do about it, so why get all worked up about it? Obviously I miss very much the people in my life who have passed on, but I know I will see them again in the afterlife, so death doesn't affect me as much as perhaps it ought to. My sister-in-law believes, too, that she will see her mother again, but of course still mourns the loss and just wanted some acknowledgment of that loss and to know she wasn't alone in this, and my simple email could have helped her achieve that.

I have a similar issue with Jonah in that our long-distance relationship is much tougher on him than it is on me. I miss him very much, but, again, I don't have quite the same pangs of separation as he seems to.

But what these two experiences have reinforced for me is that it isn't about me. It isn't about how I feel about each situation. It's what my sister-in-law and Jonah, respectively, are feeling and the simple things I can do (such as an email or a phone call) to ease their burden somewhat.

I tend to be very "me-focused" at times, and I forget to concentrate on the needs of others. And yet the irony is when we focus more on others' needs, our own burdens become lighter. There's a line from a song in the musical Avenue Q that says:

"When you help others, you can't help helping yourself."

I really do believe that. Case in point: I think about my relationship with Jonah every day. I think about how much we love each other, but I also think about the repercussions this relationship will have on my relationship with my religion and even God. It can be a heavy burden at times and can feel quite overwhelming. Jonah's birthday is coming up, and I have made him a gift (I can't tell you what it is because he reads this blog sometimes). Needless to say, it was a very time-consuming process, but it was so much fun to do and I was so busy doing something for him that I didn't have time to think about my own problems. The days I worked on his gift were so good because I wasn't focused on me at all.

When I was a missionary for the church, it was incredibly hard, but also very rewarding because it wasn't all about me; it was about the people I was serving. When I teach at school, I'm often so concerned about my students that my problems become secondary, and it's often good when that happens.

Now that isn't to say I think we should ignore our needs or problems. Not at all. But I think when we become over-focused on ourselves, we lose the big picture. Christianity is all about serving others. Christ was the ultimate example of that. I think the example of his washing his disciples' feet is such a wonderful metaphor for what his ministry was all about.

One of my favorite scriptures in the Book of Mormon is Mosiah 2:17: "...when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God." We worship God by serving others, and one of the fringe benefits is that we are only helping ourselves in the process.

One of the scriptures shared in Primary this morning was Doctrine and Covenants 136:8, which says, "Let each company bear an equal proportion, according to the dividend of their property, in taking the poor, the widows, the fatherless, and the families of those who have gone into the army, that the cries of the widow and the fatherless come not up into the ears of the Lord against this people," which our Primary President boiled down into this phrase: "Take care of each other." (Reminds me of the line from Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure: "Be excellent to each other.") The scripture was again quoted in Sacrament Meeting, only the word "company" was substituted with the word "ward," and I think you could substitute it with "person." I mean, isn't that what the gospel is all about; taking care of each other?

I realize I need to work more on putting others' needs before my own (not all the time, obviously, but more often than I am). I can be quite selfish, and so I need to work on that. I am an actor, after all, and actors can be very self-involved individuals.

That's one thing I love about Jonah, by the way. He is such a giving, generous, thoughtful person. That's certainly a quality I hope to learn more through him.

Anyway, those are my thoughts on selflessness.

In other news, I'm finally getting around to reading The Da Vinci Code. I find I'm liking it very much.

My ex-girlfriend wrote me back. She said some very nice things, and we hope to continue corresponding.

I'm getting my mom hooked on "24." I love that show.

A week from today, Jonah and I will finally get the chance to see one another and spend some time together after a two and half month separation. We're both excited about it, and we hope to have a fun trip together to Cedar City to see some plays at the Shakespearean Festival.

Anyway, that's all.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Still Here

Nothing to report or talk about. Just wanted you all to know I'm still alive.

Hope everyone is happy in blogland.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

My Ex-Girlfriend

So this is a long, sordid tale, but I will try to keep it as brief as possible.

In high school (which seems like years ago) I had a really good friend who I believe I have called Lisa in a previous post (so that's the name I will give her now). We were such good friends. I met her doing drama. She played Ethel Toffelmeyer to my Marcellus Washburn in The Music Man. I gave her a hard time when we first met (good-natured teasing), but we soon became very good friends. We did You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown together as well. At this time in my life I still wasn't sure about my homosexual feelings, and she and I dated.

When I went to college, I eventually confessed that I was gay. She was so supportive, and I will always be forever grateful for that. We still hung out and did stuff together, and I will always cherish the wonderful times we had together.

Eventually, I gained a testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and put away my homosexual inclinations (quite successfully, for a time) and served a mission for my church. I realized I was falling in love with Lisa. But she had a boyfriend on a mission and was waiting for him, so I was content just remaining friends. Things fell apart with the two of them, and she decided she was in love with me as well. She was my best friend in the world at that time, and I was looking forward to spending eternity with her. We decided to get married once I returned from my mission.

Out of the blue (and I mean completely out of the blue) she called it off and said she had met someone else and was going to marry him. Nobody understood her decision; not me, not her family, and not mine. She had only known the guy a couple of weeks, and all of a sudden she was dumping her best friend of five years for a virtual stranger. It didn't make sense. I was both completely shocked and heartbroken. I felt like a cruel joke had been played on me, and I didn't understand why things were happening the way they were.

Eventually she did marry this man. We still retained our friendship, and when I returned home we hung out some more. Needless to say, her husband was not terribly thrilled with that. But as I talked to Lisa, she seemed to feel unhappy in her marriage and told me she had made a mistake letting me go. I told her I was sorry, but she had made her bed; now she needed to lie in it. I never wanted to cause marital problems for Lisa and her husband. I simply wanted to retain my wonderful friendship with her. It became obvious to me that Lisa's husband was having a hard time with our friendship, so I stepped back somewhat. Eventually, I moved out of state. Lisa and I still wrote one another, but it wasn't the same. I could never understand why Lisa couldn't be her husband's wife and my friend at the same time.

Because Lisa dumped me, I also had self-esteem issues as far as relationships were concerned. I felt I had done something wrong or that there was something wrong with me for Lisa to suddenly call off our engagement with little explanation as to why. Even Lisa said she didn't understand why she had made the choice. I had an incredibly difficult time getting over her. For the good of her marriage, eventually our contact diminished, and I was so sad to lose my best friend.

Just as I was making progress getting over her, she called me out of the blue and wanted to reconnect. It took me aback, but I was grateful for the contact. However, the next time I called her, her husband and her cousin (at different times) prevented me from talking to her. I thought they were keeping me from her, but soon I received a letter from Lisa herself revealing something I had never known about her: she had bi-polar disorder, and it sometimes caused her to make abrupt, irrational decisions. She had only been diagnosed with it for a couple of years, but it had affected her most of her life, unbeknownst to her. Suddenly I realized why she might have called off our engagement so suddenly and without rational cause. Suddenly I understood why she did some of the strange things she did. And suddenly I realized that her husband and cousin weren't trying to keep me from her, but trying to protect her from herself. It was like the last piece in a jigsaw puzzle that I had never been able to solve was finally put in place.

Lisa revealed to me that her illness had caused a lot of problems in her marriage and in her personal life. She told me that calling me out of the blue to reconnect must have seemed strange, and she blamed it on her illness. She said that she knew I wanted her to be happy and that for the sake of her personal mental health and marriage, our friendship had to remain in the past. She apologized for any grief she had caused me over the years and asked for my forgiveness. And finally she asked me (very kindly) to step out of her life and hoped I would forgive for that.

Letting Lisa go was one of the hardest things I ever had to do. Losing that friendship was a great loss to me. At the same time, that helped me achieve closure, and I was grateful for that. I promised myself and Lisa and her husband that I would never bother them again unless Lisa asked me to come back into her life. It was a difficult thing to do, and I missed her a great deal, but I kept that promise for eight years. I thought about Lisa often and wondered what she was up to. I admittedly wondered if she ever thought about me. One day about four years ago my sister told me she had seen Lisa and her mom in the store where my sister works. She asked how she was doing, and Lisa told my sister she had kids. That was hard to hear second-hand, especially because Lisa and I had shared so much at one time. What was harder was I asked my sister if Lisa had asked about me, and my sister said she hadn't. I was crushed that not only had I lost my best friend, but that she hadn't even cared enough to ask how I was doing.

My other contact with Lisa was through the Internet. I Googled her name about two or three years ago just out of curiosity and found an online family history her family was keeping. In it, I discovered that Lisa had four children and that she and her husband were living in Lehi, Utah.

But I haven't seen, spoken, or communicated with Lisa in eight years...until two weeks ago. I finished doing my show, and as I was leaving the building, a college friend that I hadn't seen in nearly 15 years, said hi. It was such a pleasure to see her after such a long time, and I met her husband, and we reminisced a bit. Then we said goodbye, and I headed for my car. Suddenly I heard a voice yell, "Cody!" and I looked and immediately recognized my ex girlfriend. We hugged, and she said she had been at the show with her parents and brother (who I was disappointed hadn't stuck around to say hi as well). It was such a trip to see her. She looked the same except she had dyed her hair. I had always fantasized about what I would say if I ever saw her again. Frankly, I had all but given up hope that I would, though I always hoped God would give me a chance to see her again. I'm sad to say I didn't say much, except to stutter like an idiot. I was just so surprised to see her. We hugged several times, and I met two of her kids (who I think were slightly freaked out by the fact that mommy kept hugging her ex-boyfriend). I said I had missed her so much and thought of her often, and she said the same thing, which made me feel good. It never really occurred to me that our separation was just as painful to her (although that seems like it should have been obvious). Anyway, I asked about her husband, and Lisa said he was away because his mom had cancer. I told her I was sorry to hear that. I asked how she was doing, and she said she was good and told me about her children and her job. She then said I should keep in touch. I reminded her that she had asked me not to, but she said she thought it would be okay now. I asked if her husband would mind. She said she would ask. She then gave me her address and telephone number. I wrote her the other day telling her I never want to cause her or her husband any trouble, and that if I am, we should cease communication. I told her about Jonah and me (I don't know what she'll think; as far as I know, she's still an active Mormon, but it's not like she doesn't know about my past).

I told her that no matter what happens, I was just so delighted to get to see her again and know how she's doing. I told her that I've missed her, but that in retrospect, things probably worked out for the best. I'm not sure I would have handled her mental illness very well, and my homosexual issues probably wouldn't have served her too well, either. In any case, it was a bizarre but pleasant treat to see her again. No matter what, I always be thankful for that.

Jonah and I had a really nice talk today. Our separation (we're in two different states) has been especially difficult for him, mostly because he doesn't have as good of a support system as I do. He misses me terribly. I miss him, too. I have never been so loved by somebody in a romantic relationship. He just seems to adore me, and it's hard to believe that somebody loves me so much. But I know he does. I love him, too. I have a harder time showing it, I think. I guess I trick myself into believing that I don't deserve to be so loved, and with my religious issues, I think I put up a wall sometimes. But I feel we're making progress. I'm trying to do better at meeting his needs and not just focusing on my own. I really feel like we communicated well today. Sometimes I think it's hard for each of us to always understand where the other is coming from, but I guess that's what good communication is all any relationship.

You know, the parallels don't escape me: I am conscious of the fact that if Jonah loves me so much in spite of my faults and failings, God must, too, to an even greater degree. Sometimes I catch myself convincing myself I don't deserve to be so loved by Him, either. But that's a lie. Jonah is teaching me a lot about myself, and hopefully, I am doing the same for him.

In a couple of weeks we'll be going to the Utah Shakespearean Festival together. It will be nice (for both of us) to see each other again.

I really feel I've been able to talk pretty openly with my mom about Jonah. I like that. I'm glad she likes him. I still have some tough decisions to make, which I feel I'm putting off. But eventually I'm going to have to make a choice. Some days I really can see myself being with Jonah for our lives. There are other days when I worry about my soul. But most of the time I feel like I have the experiences I have and learn what I learn, and God loves me just the same. I want to be with Jonah. That's what I really want. But I also want to feel that God is okay with that, and I don't know that I feel that yet. The answer will be clear to me when I get it, though, of that I feel certain. I just have to be patient and trust the Lord.

Well, so much for being brief, huh? :-)

Thursday, July 06, 2006

A Talk

I read an interesting talk. It is admittedly biased towards getting the gay Mormon to remain true to the church and his covenants, but I still think it does have some valuable advice for gay Mormons (and even gay Christians in general), whether they decide to remain active in their religion or not. He at least seemed fairly nonjudgmental to me. You can read it here if you're at all interested. Take it for what it's worth.

I have other things I'd like to talk about, including seeing and talking with my ex-girlfriend, with whom I was once engaged and haven't seen or communicated with in nearly eight years. No time right now, though. But our relationship is an interesting story, and it was a delightful surprise to see her again. Perhaps I will talk about it in my next post.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Letter to Gayle

Here is an email I wrote to my friend, Gayle, and her response:

Hey Gayle,

I read your opinion piece recently in the Salt Lake Tribune, and I wanted you to know that I appreciated it very much. I've never told you this, but I actually deal with homosexual feelings myself, and although I have tried very hard to live my life according to the precepts of Mormonism, I find it increasingly difficult to do so as each year passes. The irony is that I still believe the Church is true; I am just wondering if maybe God has another path in mind for me right now.

These last two years while I've been away at college...have been very instrumental in my growth. I met a really great guy there who I love very much, and I am currently in the process of deciding whether to be with him permananently or whether I should stay true to my testimony of the LDS Church. As I'm sure you understand, there are no easy answers.

I have always, always appreciated your attitudes regarding this subject and have always loved how nonjudgmental you are about it. Of course, I know it is a subject close to your heart as it is to mine. It was refreshing and well expressed what you wrote for the Tribune. I truly appreciate it.

By the way, I have a blog I keep online (anonymously), and I reprinted your opinion piece (I hope that's okay). I don't know if you'd be remotely interested in reading any of my blog, but if you are, you can find it at

I'm still not fully out of the closet yet, so I would appreciate you keeping what I've told you confidential for now.


Love you and miss you


Oh, Cody, you made me cry! I'm so glad you read the op-ed piece and if it helped you in any way, then it's worth every hate letter I get! :) Actually, there has only been one negative response in the Letters to the Editor and one person mailed me a packet of material to convince me of the error of my ways. :) But we think the latter is from a woman who fell in love with my gay brother and never forgave him for not marrying her...because he is gay. Mind you, they were never a couple. She knew he was gay. Very strange. :)

I have had many, many positive responses. People in church on Sunday told me they appreciated the piece, agreed with me and thanked me for writing it. High profile, active LDS people in the community have called and expressed the same thing. People at work, all in agreement. And emails from strangers, families with gay members, who finally heard what they've been needing to hear for a long time. I am humbled and amazed at the response. One of my other brothers (I have a bunch of them) is the 2nd Councilor in his Stake Presidency in Rhode Island. When they received the "letter" from the First Presidency, he went to his Stake President and proffered his resignation, saying that he could not support the letter. His Stake President wouldn't let him resign, thank goodness.

As I tried to explain to my step-son, I have prayed for many, many hours about this. I have complete peace in my heart. I am not confused or struggling or in conflict. My patriarchal blessing claims I have the gift of discernment. I've relied on that gift my whole life. I don't understand why I should have such peace with my belief that homosexual relationships are not immoral. That position is so clearly in conflict with the church's position. And I'm guessing that there are church leaders who feel at peace with their belief that it is immoral. I don't know why we are getting different personal answers. Nevertheless, I can't deny that belief any more than I can deny my faith and belief in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But I will some day meet my maker and I am not at all worried that my stands on homosexuality will even be discussed. I'll have to explain plenty of other things!, but not this.

I am so grateful for your friendship. It means so much to me. Thank you for writing to me and rest assured that I will keep your confidence. My best friend from high school came out of the closet about 16 years ago at the age of 35. Like you, he loves the church and the gospel. He served a mission in Guatemala. I'm going to direct him to your website. I'm sure he has insights that I can't even imagine. He has been in a committed relationship now for about 8 or 9 years, I think. He's an extraordinary pianist and I can't help but think what a loss it is to the church not to embrace and appreciate and love and accept so many like him and my brother.

Love you and miss you, too. Please stay in touch. Love, Gayle

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Email From My Sister-In-Law

The other day I received the following email from my sister-in-law:

Dear Cody,

I have always wanted to have the chance, now that you are home, to sit down
and really have a talk with you (heart to heart). I really have felt a
connection with you in the past and have felt your love and support during
some difficult times in my life. However I never seem to find the right
time. I don't know how you would feel about talking about your feelings and
challenges in a room full of family members. It seems that when ever I come
someone else does too. The last thing that I would want to do is put you in
an uncomfortable position. I would also hate for you to interpret my silence
as a lack of care or concern. So many times I have wanted to wrap my arms
around you and tell you how much I love you but I didn't want that to be
weird. So I have decided to talk to you this way until you let me know how
you feel about the other.
How are you doing? Sometime it seems that I can see the pain in your eyes.
What can I do to help? Is this something that you want to talk about or
not? Please let me know how you feel. I am alway here for you. I love you.

Here was my response:

I wouldn't mind having that heart-to-heart myself. In all honesty, I don't mind talking about it in front of everybody. Obviously, I like the one on ones, but if you're ever here on your own and Mom and [my sister] are here, too, I certainly don't mind talking about it in front of them. Mom's already gotten quite an earful. :-)
I've never interpreted your silence as a lack of care or concern. I know how very much you love and care about me. And don't ever feel that it would be weird for you to hug me and tell me how much you love me. I would welcome it.
I wish I could tell you that all is well as far as this issue is concerned. I wish I could tell you that my testimony is so strong that I can overcome my challenges and stay true to the Church. I wish I could tell you the answers are so black and white that there is no question as to what my choice should be. But I can't do that. I'm literally torn between two entities I love very much (Jonah and the Church), and even though I wish my faith were strong enough to stick with the path I've tried ardently to travel these last few years, I don't know that it is.
Jonah has been absolutely great through all this. He has been very patient and understanding and has never pushed me to make a choice either way. The other day I wrote him an email telling him how hard this is and he thought I was saying I couldn't be with him and told me if I needed to choose the Church to be happy, then that's what I should do. But that devastated me (and him as well). I have never been so sad in a long time as I was when I thought I would lose him. And I was upset because I just didn't know how much more of this I could take or what God expected of me anymore.
I love the Church. I really do. And it would make me sad to leave it. I don't want that. I'm still active. I still try to do those things I'm supposed to do. But it just doesn't seem to be enough, and I don't understand why. In many ways I feel like I'm a good Christian, but that I'm failing as a Mormon.
All I know is that I really love Jonah and he loves me more than anybody has in any romantic relationship I've been in. This relationship is one of the most satisfying ones I've ever had, and if it's wrong, it really confuses me because it feels right. This is a gut-wrenching, soul sucking decision I have to make, and I wish I could tell you I'm going to "choose the right," but I just don't know that I am. I'm tired of pretending I'm something I'm not. I'm tired of trying to live my life a certain way and not getting results. I'm tired of being alone and having nothing to look foward to but being alone. I've finally found somebody I can see myself being very happy with, and yet God tells me I can't? It just doesn't make sense anymore.
I wish there was something you could do to help. I don't know what that is. I don't even know the answers. How can expect people who've never walked in these shoes to fully be able to help? All I ask is that you love and support me. If I make what you deem to be a "wrong decision," I hope you'll still always love and support me, whether you agree with me or not.
It's a heavy burden I carry in this life. I don't know why it's mine, but it is, and I feel I've done the best I could. I feel I've tried to live the best, most Christian life I've been capable of living. If that's not enough, I just don't know what else to do.
I'm sorry if these aren't the words you want to hear, but it's what I currently feel.

I love you very much and thank you for your continual prayers and support.



I also have an email I'd like to post from my friend, Gayle, who wrote the op-ed piece in this post, but I'm waiting to hear from her before I do that.

That's all. Church was good today, but frustrating at the same time.